De La Soul cofounder Dave Jolicoeur, better known as Trugoy the Dove, has died at the age of 54, according to a representative for the band. Details were not immediately available, but he has had health issues for several years and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2018.
Unfortunately, his death comes just weeks before the key catalogue of the pioneering hip-hop group becomes available on streaming services. Their 1989 album, “3 Feet High and Rising,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, but it has been unavailable on streaming services due to long-running legal battles over sample clearances and other issues. In many ways, the group served as a test case for laws governing sampling, which was a new field at the time of the album’s release but quickly became one when the owners of the rights to songs sampled on the album sued the group and its label at the time, Tommy Boy Records.
The lawsuits undoubtedly slowed the group’s career, but they have since continued to release albums and were featured on Gorillaz’s 2005 smash single, “Feel Good Inc.” Reservoir Media purchased the Tommy Boy catalogue in 2021 and announced last month that the group’s albums “3 Feet High and Rising,” “De La Soul Is Dead,” “Buhloone Mindstate,” “Stakes Is High,” and “Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump” and “AOI: Bionix” will be legally available on streaming services for the first time on March 3.
The group’s influence was recognised last weekend at the Grammy Awards, during the Questlove-helmed all-star hip-hop celebration, with a brief performance of “Buddy,” a song from “3 Feet High,” though Posdnos (Kevin Mercer) was the only group member to perform.
Its song “The Magic Number,” from the album “3 Feet High,” was featured in the 2021 blockbuster film “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” but the catalogue was still not available on streaming services at the time, frustrating fans and costing the band significant streaming royalties, but the situation did shed more light on their legal struggles.
De La Soul reportedly finished recording its tenth studio album, featuring production from Pete Rock and DJ Premier, shortly before the announcement of its catalogue being released on all streaming services in January 2023, with a 2023 release on Mass Appeal Records promised.